Dir/scr: Vladimir Kott. Russia. 2011. 104mins


Gromozeka may well be the gloomy tale of three middle-aged men all struggling with various problems in modern-day Moscow, but in the hand of talented writer/director Vladimir Kott it is also an elegantly woven story of a these men fighting against aging while also trying to express love, each in their own idiosyncratic way.

There are also moments of deliciously dark humour as the threesome set about trying to deal with their problems.

The three were best friends at school, playing in a band they called Gromozeka. The film opens with a shot of the teenage threesome heading off to perform, before cutting to a scene of the now middle-aged and unhappy looking three men sitting in a sauna, falteringly discussing how they are doing in life.

Not massively well is the simple answer. One is a police officer whose wife and adult son don’t care for him; another is a taxi driver who after purchasing a little DVD porn discovers his daughter is moonlighting as a porn actress and the third is a surgeon, juggling his wife and lover, who has discovered he has cancer.

And while there is little denying the various story threads are anything other than downbeat, this elegant and enjoyably compulsive drama is wonderfully structured – so the storylines criss-cross in subtle and not at all obvious way – and delightfully performed. There are also moments of deliciously dark humour as the threesome set about trying to deal with their problems.

The taxi driver loves his daughter but can’t bear the thought of her being in porn films, so hires someone to main her…this turn out to be the son of the policeman, who refuses to do it because he know the girl from childhood. While in another scene the overweight policeman chases the man who he finds his having an affair with his wife, eventually holding him at gun point in the snow, only for the man to drop dead of a heart-attack.

These three men may well live their lives in parallel, only unknowingly crossing and touching each other inadvertently, but each is doing their – often inept – best to deal with what life has thrown at them. The final, rather joyous fantasy scene, is the middle-aged threesome playing in their band with smiles on their faces.

Production company/sales: TVINDIE Film Production, www.tvindie.ru/en/23

Producer: Yevgeny Gindilis

Cinematography: Ruslan Gerasimenkov, Grigory Volodin

Editor: Olga Grinshpun

Production designer: Igor Kotsarev

Main cast: Nikolay Dobrynin, Boris Kamorzin, Leonid Gromov, Yevgeniya Dobrovolskaya, Polina Filonenko, Darya Semyonova